Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy. Birthday.

It is my bro's bday today.

I am sad I cannot be there to celebrate with him and the rest of the fam. Real sad.

Kris is really awesome.


I mean, seriously. He has a heart of gold and more faith and dedication than I can even fathom.

I'm a real lucky girl when it comes to having the most choice brothers, and Kris is no exception.

So while I know its the end of your day, I hope your birthday is most excellent. And the next time we happen to be in the same place, we're doing sushi.

Miss you love you!! happy birthday!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Out of the mouth of Max Hall

As I sat here following the game of all games on my laptop in Korea, I had nothing but feelings of love and truth and happiness as my beloved Cougs beat the nasty Utes. I got homesick for LaVell Edwards stadium. I wish I could've sat there cheering for my team. But I think they heard me all the way from here.
Align Center
As I'm reading up on the game, some quotes from Max Hall really stood out.

And when I say stood out, I mean he was pretty harsh. And I kinda like it. I mean, its his last regular season college football game.

Max said:

"I don't like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, their fans. I hate everything," Hall said. "It felt really good to send those guys home...

"I think the whole university and their fans and the organization is classless," Hall said. "They threw beer on my family and stuff last year and did a whole bunch of nasty things. I don't respect them and they deserved to lose."

BOOYAH.

Mostly I really like that.

What I didn't like was the 4th quarter. I mean, we were up 20-6. And then they managed to tie us. Not awesome.

Thankfully, things came together in the end and Andrew George will be worshiped on BYU campus in the coming days.

Awesome. Go Cougs. Thanks for making me happy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shopping



Hankook Mart:
This is where I usually do my grocery shopping. The first time I went there I wasn't so sure about it. It's smaller (and therefore not really stocked full of American food) but now I go there probably at least twice a week. There is this random man whose job is to talk constantly into a microphone over the loudspeaker. I have no idea what he's saying, but he sounds like a game show host. Someone said he's just saying the big sales or discounts. But sometimes when I walk in and he starts talking and I see people laughing I have this fear he's warning the store that a white girl has entered.

Anyways.

This week, however, heaven came to me in the form of an even greater shopping experience: Costco

Did you know there are six (I think) Costco's in Korea?! I love it. I went with some friends and we walked in with wide eyes and happy hearts. Like kids in a candy store. I'm not even joking. And its not like it's super close to us. It took an hour bus ride and a 15 minute cab ride to get there. But every moment spent getting there and back was worth it. Because I got to partake of the goodness of a Costco hot dog and chicken bake. Oh soooo good.


We also had the luxury of hauling all our goods back down to our city. Buying in bulk is much harder when there is no SVU or mini-van to pile in all your boxes.

I love Costco. So much.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Awesome

I don't know if its because we just had a party in the theme of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or what, but this Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young is fantastic. I'm in love with him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I used all my good turkeys in the post below, I don't really have anything funny to post. But I'm about to leave to go to a Thanksgiving feast with my church and I'm super stoked to eat good ol' Mormon mom food.

I also wanted to say some of the things I am grateful for today:
-Family
-Friends
-Faith
-America
-Korea
-Candy
And so many other things

But really, I am super glad to be where I am. I've mentioned I've had some hard days, but they pale in comparison to the good days I've had here. And I'm positive there are many more to come.

Happy Thanksgiving world! Eat some pie for me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Korean Turkey's

I taught a lesson on Thanksgiving to the boys. And I made them draw turkeys and write things they are grateful for just like we do when we're little! Suckers.

They are a creative little bunch.

Here are some of my favorites:

The turkey bus going to hell

This one gets a spot because of what the little bugger wrote on the bottom. If anyone can translate my nickname, let me know. And its good to know one can be both scary, fun, and likable!

The next two are just the most random. And they have to deal with physical ailments. Which is usually what I think of when I think American Thanksgiving...


Yes, skin cancer turkey and handicap turkey (complete with wheelchair) round out this boy band of drawings. Who even knew?

Gems

Today ended poorly, but there were some gems strewn throughout the day:

-Sometimes I arm wrestle the boys. It gets them to shut up for a bit. Today I suffered my first loss to date. I'm not gonna lie. It was embarrassing. I became the loser. And so the whole class called me loser. Good thing I'm not still in middle school or my self esteem would have suffered. I went to talk to the winner a few minutes after it happened. He explained to me that he won because he was a young boy and I was an old woman. Ouch.

-I tried doing a lesson on slang vocabulary. It stemmed from the fact that the only greeting they know is "how are you" in which they reply "Fine, thank you, how are you?" every time, which is fine, but when I see them and I say "hows it going" and they look at me confused or answer "to class" I get sad for their English. So I taught them other greetings, and the words 'awesome', 'hanging out', and 'big mouth' (one kid was telling on other kids so I had a great example). During the 'hanging out' explanation I asked if anyone ever went out with girls. Two boys at the back table both have girlfriends and the rest of the class instantly pointed to them. Another boy told me wished he had a girlfriend. And one boy said it was too expensive to have a girlfriend. So then I asked the two boys in the back if it was expensive and one responded that his girlfriend gave him money. So then I taught them the words "sugar momma". Very educational.

-The two who have girlfriends and I also had a great conversation about hip-hop music because one was wearing a pin that said "I love hip hop". Awesome. Their favorite artists? Tupac, Nas, Snoop Dogg (which was real hard to understand the first time), and DMX. Then I told the class that if they want a girlfriend, they should listen to hip-hop. Makes sense, right?

-I asked them how long they had been dating their girlfriends. One said 30 days. One said 432 days.

-I told a kid to shut up in front of the class. It might have been a mistake.

-I'm going to watch some football tonight with friends I haven't met yet.

Just another day in middle school.

Fake out


Look what I found today at the grocery store! And in case you can't see it, its not just normal Cheetos. It's hot and spicy Cheetos! If you know me, you know I love them. They are a more recent addiction and they were basically the snack of choice this past summer. Naturally, thoughts of the Sanchez Sanchez family ran through my mind as I bought these suckers (three bags to be exact). And sooo cheap.

Also, you don't have to tell me how good I look in the picture above. I think it speaks for itself.

I shouldn't have let my hopes get so high. Because they were soon destroyed.

The moment I opened the bag and saw the color of these Cheetos, I knew they were not going to be the same as the ones I love so dearly. They barely even leave any cheet on your fingers, which we all know is the opposite of real flamin hot Cheetos. Also, hot and spicy is a lie. You'd think in a country where they put red peppers on everything, they could have at least made these a little spicy. A little hot. But no.

Darren, eat an extra bag for me when you can.
(Which, you might have gone a little too far with that post Darren. Don't click on it if you like Max Hall)

Birthday Love

I might have the best family in the world.

Scratch that.

I definitely have the best family in the world.

They sent me two birthday packages of love. And love did overflow from them.

So happy.

My spoils. It includes cake, popcorn, candy!, like 10 Reeces peanut butter cups, crazy straws, yarn and knitting needles (booyah) and peanut butter. Oh thank heaven for peanut butter.

I eat peanut butter on everything now. Currently (at this exact moment) it is a topping for my Hershey kisses. But like I told my parents, I'm trying to ration it so it lasts longer.

So this is a shout out to you family. Thank you a bijillion times!

(PS For a late birthday present, I would like you to get rid of the cats/dogs by the time I get home-thanks!)

The Pancake, the Donut, and the Muffin

Alternative Title: "Blessed by Pastries"

I have said it before and I'll say it again: I love Koreans.

I've been here long enough to know my neighborhood, and it seems like they are getting to know me too. I have my own neighborhood grocery store, my own path to school where I pass the same people every day, I say hi to the bank teller when I see her outside of the bank, I have my own food stand around the corner from my apartment, and I have my own local convenience store run by the nicest woman on the planet. And while I only speak a few words in the language of these people, we have become friends.

They are the kindest, most generous people I have ever met.

There have been rough days for me here. I've had days where I've mapped out my return flight home. I've had days where being sick made my homesickness 80 times worse. I've had the most job related frustrations ever. And each one of these days when I've just wanted to hide from the world, the world shows me how good it can be in the most simple but profound ways.

So far, these ways have also come in the form of a pastry.

It had been a rough day at school. I felt the most inadequate and the most hesitant in my decision to come to Korea. I questioned my motives for coming and asked myself why I thought I could do this. I had never taught before and I didn't know anyone.

I decided to get some of those fish shaped pancakes from the lady around the corner from my apartment. She is the sweetest woman. I walk past her at least twice a day and every time I do I am guaranteed a smile and a hello. It makes my day. I try to get food from her every once in awhile to kind of show my love back. And those little things have grown on me. So this particular day I stopped by to say hello and grab some treats, and I noticed instead of three, she gives me six. I tried to pay her more money, and she just smiled and laughed and waved her hand in front of her, denying any further payment. All I can do is say thank you and smile. But that day when I felt so worthless, she made me feel like a million bucks (or six fish shaped pancakes).

My birthday started a little rough. I had to teach COT's classes that day (little devils), I knew the packages my family sent me (which were awesome and the results will be posted soon) would be late, and mostly I just knew my birthday wouldn't be the same without my peeps and family back home. I stopped by the convenience store down the street from my house on the way home to buy some grape juice to ease the pain. It is my favorite you know. And just as I was paying for it, the woman who owns/runs the store calls to a man sitting in the back. A moment later he is walking up to me, handing me a donut. Again, all I can do is thank them for their kindness and hope to return it someday. I walked out of the store and down the street, looking to the sky in amazement of how these people can know my needs so well. Because at that moment, I needed some love.

Today was another not awesome day at school. I mean, it was awesome for some reasons. But it ended poorly. As COT began to take my two month vacation and slowly transform it into a less than one month vacation, I was seething. See, I've asked her about a million times about January. There is no school that month so I assumed I had it off, but Koreans are really bad about telling you information when you want it. At least the Koreans at my school. Which explains why I've asked so many times. And which is why I was surprised that today she told me something different than before. I have always been told that I would have a one week English camp and thats all. She tells me this and I repeat it back, making sure we understand each other. Well today that one week of camp was moved to the first week of January, and the following three weeks have turned into weeks of conversation classes.

As you can tell, it is not good news. Basically every week I had decided to travel somewhere awesome is gone. I have to rethink my whole situation. And I have to plan for a month of classes instead of a week. Excuse me? I was livid. Every second she stood next to me was another moment I had to restrain myself from breaking every bone in her body. I'm not joking.

So just as I was fuming from this experience, I went to the grocery store to buy some junk, including some bread. As the lady and I were exchanging money and bread, in the very last second she was holding onto the bag of bread, she grabbed a muffin and threw it inside.

If that isn't a sign that I need to remember to be grateful, I don't know what is.

So with that, and it being Thanksgiving this week back in the States, I am thankful for pastries. And how they have come to symbolize little acts of love in my life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In class

My students always participate and listen in class.

Oh wait.

No they don't.

But sometimes when they're not paying attention, they do funny things.


This is what happened today when we played a review game.

Love it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm going back to school

Yeah.

I'm looking to be a 'hip-hop scholar'



Who's with me?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just like General Conference...

If any of you have ever gone to General Conference in Salt Lake, you'll know what I'm talking about:

Yes, even in downtown Seoul, there are people giving out free hugs.

You better believe I ran into these arms real fast.

And the following 'I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU' didn't hurt either.

PS did you see the new bsb video?

umm...

Why are BSB and I so connected?

Seriously. Check this out:



They are in Japan.

Do you know how close to Japan I am!? How did I not get wind of this filming?!

Good news though: BSB is supposed to be doing a few tour dates in Japan the beginning of next year.

If this is true, you know where I'll be.

I would seriously DIE.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Korean Birthday

First off, I appreciate all the birthday love in my life via fb, gchat, and email.

Am I really 24? Wild.

It was a pretty awesome bday, minus my outbreak of hives that helped me experience the Korean clinic sans a translator. Ugh to that.

But, other than that, it was awesome.

First off, I had to teach all day. So why not teach them about birthdays? I brought in a little treat for every student (which turned out to be more than I was thinking) and we tried to do a little activity but they stopped paying attention to me so I just made stuff up. I also forced each class to take a photo with me. Suckers.

two things:
1. my outfit-i'm sorry
2. yes it is hard telling them apart-but i'm getting better


This class was more excited about life, so I made them sing to me. Bahahaha.

video

My bday night was spent with some peeps from my church-we grabbed some Indian food for dinner, which is my favorite and I'm craving some more right now.

And then I met up with friends in Songtan for a good time.

As you can see, it was jam packed full of randomness. Just the way I like it. And even though I had to turn down a birthday shot or two, I'll say my Korean birthday was a success.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Sampling

Today was Wednesday.

But not just any Wednesday.

It was a half day at school!!!!! BOOYAH.
Align Center
My half day was fine. I had all intentions of getting the Korean Tiger recorded. I brought my camera up to their classroom and was all ready for it, but when I got there and started talking, I looked back to him and he looked sick. I called out his name "Korean tiger!" and his feeble attempt at the Korean tiger made my heart hurt. He had his head down the entire class. Poor kid. Maybe next time.

Also, I really miss my class schedule. I've become so used to teaching each class only once a week that its totally throwing me off having the same students multiple days in a row. I hope COT comes back soon.


In one of my classes today, I decided to see if I could recreate the "Boom Boom Pow" moment. Which, I don't know if it could ever be recreated. So after my pathetic excuse of a lesson, I had each table write down their favorite song or artist and decided to work my way through them. After a minute I had them vote to say if they wanted a new song or to keep listening to the current one. It worked well. They stayed fairly focused on the music and I got insight into some of their favorite songs.

Which, PS, GUESS WHAT GROUP A TABLE REQUESTED! GUESS. JUST GUESS.

Kanye. check.

A*Teens. check.

BACKSTREET BOYS. CHECK AND CHECK!

Yeah. A couple kids mentioned their affinity for BSB. My heart was full and I felt a special connection with them. A beautiful moment.

It was also a beautiful moment when one of the kids started singing along and then randomly shimmied. I died. I'm going to just start doing music days all the time. It makes for a good time.

Anyways. After school I decided to head down to a few stores I've been meaning to check out and maybe catch a movie. I accomplished all of these goals. And more.

Like running into a Korean clown on stilts downtown. He was making balloon animals and carried a Hello Kitty purse.


Now, I have to share with you some of my purchases. I bought them solely based on their awesome factor.

Look 1:
If you can't read it, it says "Making awesome pose". Which doesn't make sense. But I tried following its advice in this picture.

Look 2:
I'm mildly obsessed with this sweatshirt. I know you can see where I'm coming from on this one.

Look 3:

I bought this one specifically for its geographic genius. New York Salt Lake? Two of my favorite cities together in one? I've never been there but I'd love to check it out sometime.

(And don't worry. The combined total of these three pieces was only about 10 bucks. Can I get another BOOYAH?!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Unexpected Awesomeness

Today I got to school and was excited for my day. Mondays are my 3rd grade (or 9th grade in American terms) only day, so the kids are older and speak English better and aren't afraid to laugh at me as much.

I had my lesson plan all ready and the song of the week pulled up on my computer and was stoked.

Then: BOOM.

Another Korean English teacher comes in and tells me that COT is sick and so I'd be taking over her class schedule until she returns. And my normal classes would go to the assigned regular coteacher.

(So each class I teach has an assigned coteacher. These coteachers usually just make sure the students listen to my lessons and aren't too crazy. Sometimes these coteachers come, other times they do not.)

So I was sad I wouldn't be with my typical 3rd graders. And I was more sad that I didn't have lessons for these new classes. So I had to make some up real fast. Not that awesome.

I teach a couple classes and then I have a period off...but then my normal 3rd grade class ends up coming to my classroom. I did not know where the coteacher was. So I figured maybe I had to do double duty today. Again, not that awesome.

I've been trying to open up the Koreans to American culture i.e. American music. So I've been playing the Billboard #1 song for the kids. I've also been attempting to say their names, which has led to countless laughs on my behalf.

So I take attendance. They laugh. I put on the music video for Jason Derulo's "Whatcha Say" (which I have previously been obsessed with so I sing along in class and I've decided that Jason is a beautiful man) and they like it.

One table calls me over and asks if we can watch a Korean music video (see previous post). I oblige. Then that one ends and they ask for more hip hop. So I turn on some Jay-Z and Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind". And then they request Black Eyed Peas: "Boom Boom Pow"

Playing the "Boom Boom Pow" music video in my Korean class was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

This one table especially was really, REALLY into it. They hit almost every boom and pow on time and we pretended like we were gangsta, meaning we put our hands in the air and I swaggered when I walked back to the front of the class. It was hilarious.

Needless to say today was a real bonding day for class 3-3.

Also, in my last class I had to teach some 1st graders (7th graders). One of the kids reminded me of my little brother Erik which made me miss home (Shout out to ERIK!!!). And then the kid next to him decided to make me laugh hysterically. This random kid in the back of the classroom just looks at me and declares:

"MY NAME IS KOREAN TIGER!"

Then he makes tiger noises and turns his hands into tiger claws.

I laugh.

Then he points to the kid next to him and says:

"HE IS KOREAN FISH!"

And he makes a fish face.

And finally, the best part. He turns to the kid on his other side and says:

"HE IS KOREAN PIG"

The following noise could only be described as the most terrifying and awesome pig squeal in the world. His eyes got real wide (as wide as Korean eyes can get...wrong?) and he just let it out.

I hadn't laughed that hard since...well, since BOOM BOOM POW.

What a day.

Cute

A student told me today that this singer is his wife.

(it really just means he thinks she's beautiful)

And maybe we watched this in class. As a class exercise of course. They had to explain to me what the song was about. Kinda.

Anyways, it is pretty cute. And sad.


(in case you don't figure it out, the boy dies)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I would've done the same thing

Ok so the actual video is pretty stupid. But this is worth posting just for the headline.



I would've been valedictorian with this deal.

Korean Love

Of all the cookies and treats I've had here, I'm pretty sure these are my favorite. Do you remember those small koala cookies that were in the hexagon box and they had chocolate inside of them? These remind me of those. And I'm obsessed with them. I probably have a box every other day. Go ahead and judge me. I will hold onto these treasures from heaven. I mostly enjoy the pictures they put on each of the cookies: umbrellas, gloves, hearts, and a spatula, among other things.


Also, in some of my classes I've been teaching a review on the body. The boys know most of the basic body parts but I've been shaking it up with words like "bellybutton", "palm" and the personal fave "armpit".

Interjection: Before I came here I read about how I should bring a year supply of deodorant because they don't really wear it. I wasn't sure about it, but I followed these instructions and have like 4 sticks waiting to be used. Anyways, the amazing thing is its true. They don't wear deodorant. And they don't smell. Seriously, even on the subway, there is hardly ever a hint of BO. How does an entire population get away with this? I'm amazed.

During class when I got to armpit, the boys all laughed and would yell out words like smelly. Or hairy. In one class there was a boy who asked his table if they had armpit hair. Three of the six boys raised their hands. So funny.

We played Simon Says and then I had them draw a picture using the word of the body part to make the outline of the drawing. If that makes sense. Some of them were surprisingly good- better than I can do when I'm really trying. And of course a unit on the body wouldn't be complete without a few boys making sure they draw/label EVERY body part. I couldn't hang those drawing on the wall.

This one was just random to me. Why did the kid write "I'm dirty" in the middle of his drawing?


I don't know. But I like it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ugh.

Sorry I've been so boring lately. With the flu and then my lack of preparedness for class, I've felt like my time has been sucked out of me.

Lucky for you, I'm feeling better and I'm ready for some more adventures. Well, pretty much everything I do here is some kind of adventure. But you know what I mean.

I also am now excited to bring you regular blog posts from my bed. Yes, I've upgraded from the drying room corner to real internet access that I can get from anywhere in my apartment. Booyah. It took me long enough. I'm still waiting on a phone but I feel like COT and I have made some progress there so I'll take it.

-----------------

The other day at the palace we visited in Seoul, there was a time travel machine wherein I went back in time and culture and became a Korean hair model.

Here are photos from that epic trip.
before

after

As you can see, there is good reason for me not being born Korean 200 years ago. There's no way I would've been able to wear that business for longer than 30 seconds. But I did enjoy it for that 30 seconds, as did the crowd of Korean women who stood around and watched my transformation.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

No longer (as) pathetic

But still kinda pathetic.

I ventured into the city on Friday night for a magical viewing of the Michael Jackson movie This Is It.

Verdict?

Would you be mad if I said that I LOVED it?! I was entertained the whole time and I felt like MJ and I really got to know each other better. Really though. He seemed like a nice guy. And I was tapping my toes the entire time because who doesn't love a good MJ song?

My favorite part was when he talked about how we need to save the planet. Legit.

My only question is how did Kenny Ortega get such a big deal in life? One minute he's working on Hocus Pocus and HSM and then the next he's being BFF with MJ. Which was also entertaining for me. Because MJ would suggest something and immediately Ortega was all like "yeah MJ I was thinking the same thing" because really, who would disagree with MJ?

Also this weekend they've been playing random action/suspense movies on TV here. Against my better judgment, I wasted hours watching Transporter 1 and 2. Those movies suck.

Anyways, RIP MJ. RIP.

And a random photo of me and some Koreans.

potential suitors?